For the first few ballet classes roo attended, I’ve dined out with her either for salad or frozen yogurt as a sort of mommy’s-so-amazed-you’re-doing-something-on-your-own reward. During the succeeding sessions, I tried to wean her off the unintentional dine-out-after-ballet expectation I created.
During the first day of my wean-off-dining-out plan, she asked me whether we were going to a restaurant. I promptly squashed expectations by telling her that dinner was waiting for us at home. Looking at me with irritation, she goes “but I want to eat outside, in a restaurant.” Flipping her hair back in a fluid motion that I never learned how to do, she adds for effect “and I want Japanese!”
I immediately replied with a “We don’t have enough money.” That usually gets a thoughtful “oh” from her, followed by a “nevermind, it’s OK, mommy.”
This time around though, she looked up at me with shining eyes. “I have an idea, mommy!”
“Really? What is it?”
“Why don’t you…” dramatic pause with finger on chin “…go the the machine,” she’s just full of dramatic pauses and shining eyes “and get some money! It’s a great idea, right?” She finishes off her question with an enthusiastic nodding of her head, as if her bubbly cheerleader smile and the sheer motion of her head will get me to agree.
“But, roo, there’s no more money in the machine, and I only have 12 dollars in my wallet.”
She gives me a thoughtful pause. She was brimming with solutions that day. “That’s OK. You can spend the 12 dollars on my salad, and I will share with you!”
At this point, I knew my “finance lessons for preschoolers” agenda was on the verge of failing. Backtracking, I counter-proposed. “Roo, remember we have a big play date on Thursday?”
She gives me a blank look with a “yeah…”
“Why don’t we go on a super fun play date on Thursday, and we’ll save our money today so we can eat out after our play date with our friends! Isn’t that a better idea?”
“No, not better.”
“Okay,” I paused to look into her eyes and let her understand the gravity of the choices in front of her, “we can either go out today and eat salad then NOT have a play date on Thursday, OR we can go home now and have LOTS and LOTS and LOTS of fun on Thursday sharing food with our friends! What do you think?”
Roo did not look impressed. “I think we can have salad now, and then play with our friends on Thursday.”
“But we don’t have enough money, roo. If we spend now, we won’t have any on Thursday.”
“Hmm…” she had her thinking cap back on. “I know, why don’t we go home and ask DADDY to give us some money!”
I thought that was a FABULOUS idea. And that is how we went straight back home without any restaurant dine outs, Japanese or otherwise.
***photos taken with an iphone using the ubercool hipstamatic app.